– Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

On February 22nd my class was on camp in waipara but i was at home sick with my mum and younger sister. I remember it as though it was yesterday, i was lying on the couch reading my book, my sister was playing with her toys on the ground in front of me and my mum was sitting at the table across the room.

When the quake started my initial reaction was to get out, my house was already badly damaged and didnt look like it would stand up to much more, but my sister dived onto the floor and i jumped on top of her then mum ran over to us. The shaking felt like it lasted forever, but i couldn’t bring myself to look around. As soon as the shaking stopped we ran for the front door, but it was jammed, so we ran to the back door and tried to get through the gate to the driveway but it was jammed. Then we heard my neighbour scream, i’ll never forget that sound, it was the most terrifying noise i’ve ever heard. We immediately started banging harder on the gate to try and force it open, but it wouldnt. The only other way out was through the garage which was locked. I quickly ran back into the house to find my keys. The car door was broken and only just opened. Then we saw the street, it was filling with water and all the ground that wasn’t was badly cracked.

We ran over to my neighbour’s and found her holding her baby, but thankfully okay. I rang my dad after that, he was in the CBD and luckily i got through to him straight away, he was fine, but he said town had ‘pancaked’ and he’d get home as soon as he found a way out. My mum said she had to go get my brother from school and ran to get him after driving and cycling failed. Shortly my mum returned with my brother, and a couple of hours later my dad got home. After that we went to my grandparents’ and stayed the night there because their house was undamaged. then we spent six weeks living out of town with family friends until school started back and we returned home. the end.

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